by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
New Season, New players
With the NBA season launch less than a month away, it is a good chance to catch up on all the off-season player movements in order to prepare for the season ahead. Sure, I could simply scour the internet and read about all the updates in team rosters, but I've found that there's no better way to find out the current squads than to pick up the yearly iteration of the 2K NBA basketball title, in this case NBA 2K14.
The Year of LeBron
2014 appears to be the year of LeBron James. Personally I’m not a huge fan of LeBron. Well, maybe not him per-se, but more of the way he went about his move from Cleveland to Miami a couple of years back. He features on the cover and has an entire game mode dedicated to him. In the LeBron: Path to Greatness mode, players assume the role of the man himself as he attempts to improve upon Michael Jordan's six NBA championships. Playing through the story mode is quite a bit of fun, as the developers have scripted some interesting scenarios for LeBron. There is a reasonable amount of depth to the story (for a sports title, anyway), and the thing I enjoyed the most was not having to play through every game in the season, but rather just the important matches. Games do play out similarly to the standard modes in that you control the whole team and not just LeBron. LeBron fans will ultimately find more enjoyment out of the Path to Greatness mode than I did, but the challenges proved satisfying enough to a non-LeBron fan such as myself.
I preferred to play the Season mode though, as playing through the season mode helps me to figure out who went where during the off-season. I decided to play as the LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers. Aussie-born Kyrie Irving may indeed fill the void left by the four-time NBA MVP. Playing through the season gives gamers time to work out the intricacies of each of their players, so by mid-season, I knew exactly who to give the ball when on a fast break and where to stand when defending against the opposition’s power forward. Other modes include the My Career mode and MyTeam, which is not dissimilar to the FIFA Ultimate Team used by EA’s football titles, which adds online tournaments.
Be like Mike
Everyone wants to be the next Michael Jordan. And NBA 2K14 – as with the previous version - allows gamers to do so with the My Player creator. Gamers can create their own likeness in the creator, or add their own touch of flair with some far-out hair-styles and tattoos and make their own Dennis Rodman wannabe. Then gamers can set their attributes and then hit the court. And I have to admit, it is more fun to play as yourself or your own creation and watch the replays of some of your best work.
Front row seats
The atmosphere during the games is great. The crowd really gets into the game - if the home team is winning, the crowd roars their approval. But they also voice their disapproval when the home team is looking down the barrel of defeat or a referees call goes against them. They also like to help out their free-throwers, by becoming silent as they prepare to shoot whilst making a huge racket when the opposition lining up to shoot. The commentary is also superb, continuing the high standard set by the game’s predecessors. The interaction between Clark Kellogg, Steve Kerr and Kevin Harlan flows nicely as they talk about the current action and the players. Commentary for the most part is spot on, mirroring the play as it happens. The special comments were also insightful, letting gamers know which players have got a hot hand. Doris Burke also adds her voice to some important facts regarding the players taking the court. After playing for some time in the regular season, the comments do begin to repeat though. In my time playing as Cleveland, the hot topics were a possible return of LeBron and Andrew Bynum’s bowling accident.
Great television-style presentation, commentary remains outstanding.
Some player visuals could use a bit of a spruce up, defending can be tough early on.